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Radio AM to FM: May 20, 2005

Full Circle

Joe Benson, released from active duty when Arrow abruptly dropped classic rock, fired the entire airstaff and changed to Jack-FM ... which plays primarily classic rock ... has returned to the Southern California airwaves via his old stomping grounds, KLOS.

Many fans remember when Benson hosted the popular Seventh Day Sunday night program, one of the many ideas KLOS successfully stole from other stations during the height of popularity -- and competition -- of Los Angeles "album-oriented" rock radio stations.

The original Seventh Day was an all-day event on K-WEST (now KPWR) in which the station played full versions of albums uninterrupted. The KLOS version was abbreviated, running only Sunday nights, but Benson soon became synonymous with the show.

He spent 12 years at KLOS starting back in 1981, left for KLSX in 1993, returned to KLOS in 1996, and switched to Arrow soon after that.

Back on KLOS once more, Benson takes over Gary Moore's afternoon slot (2-6 PM), while Moore moves to evenings (6-10 PM).

Follow the Road

Radio Disney, the syndicated kids format heard locally on KDIS, will present the Yellow Brick Road to Stardom Talent Showcase this Saturday at Ikea in Burbank.

The station is looking for that "special kid" who can sing one of five songs from The Wizard of Oz as part of a tie-in with ABC Television's The Muppets Wizard of Oz that airs tonight.

A national winner will go to New York for an enchanted weekend; one local semifinalist will receive a Prize Pack including a toy and the soundtrack to the Muppets Oz show which stars Ashanti as Dorothy.

Details are at


XM Satellite Radio announce this week that it now has over four million subscribers, and is well on the way to meeting its goal of 5.5 million by the end of the year. The ball does indeed appear to be rolling: it took almost 2 years for the first million, eight months for the second, six months for the next, and just five for the most recent milestone.

I have yet to hear XM for myself -- I subscribe to Sirius -- but I have not found anyone who doesn't like it ... or competitor Sirius.

Wasting Away

Speaking of Sirius, Jimmy Buffett is set to launch Radio Margaritaville on its service. The 24-hour channel will feature a wide variety of music, live broadcasts of Buffett concerts, and other unique programming.

While it does sound intriguing -- Buffett fans are among the most fanatical I have ever witnessed -- I am concerned that Sirius is leaning too much toward specialty channels that don't always deliver what they promise. Radio Maxim, for example, has been amazingly dull, and when Howard Stern comes on board next year he is allowed to program up to three channels. I hope Sirius doesn't forget what got it going in the first place: solid programming on its regular channels. Perhaps they may want to focus on those and some of the niche programming it does not currently offer. Just a thought.


Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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